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Interview: Ben Walters dicks around with Scottee and talks about The Worst Of…

You can’t go far wrong with a bit of Scottee. The London scene’s messmaker-in-chief can usually be relied on to bring the party and push some buttons, whether he’s heading up Hamburger Queen, his beauty pageant for fat people, or presenting his skewed variety night Camp at his own council estate, as he did in December.
This week there’s a chance to see him in a somewhat different mode when his solo show The Worst of Scottee comes to the Roundhouse, following successful runs in Edinburgh and touring at home and abroad. Scottee has broached emotionally raw autobiographical material before but takes it to a new level here, inviting people he mistreated as a teenager to revisit the encounters. They appear on a video screen built into the show’s ingenious set, a hybrid confessional and photo booth. The results are amusing, moving and disturbing.
Ben Walters: So, Scottee – why the move into theatrical solo-show territory?
There was this pressure from some people to make a solo show so people [who don’t see my other shows] know what I’m about. I knew I didn’t want to make a happy-clappy show so I thought, ‘Why don’t I make a show about how shit I am?’ I don’t have a lot of friends from childhood. I’ve burned a lot of bridges. I thought, ‘That’s interesting. Let’s explore how much of a dick I’ve been.’ It proved to be quite easy to find people [to contribute].
Ben Walters: Is it about you apologising, or about a culture of blame in society, or neither of those?
I’m not sorry. I’m not trying to post blame or respond to blame; it’s just that I’m telling the truth. We all have the ability to be horrible. The arts is so full of people trying their best and I think we know much more about ourselves from the worst.
Ben Walters: But isn’t it just a different form of narcissism?
It’s theatrical narcissism. The camera and the photo booth, where public displays of narcissism go on, [reflect] the YouTube generation – blogging, putting our lives out there. The show is about myself and things that happened in my life but it’s about how other people’s lives were affected too, and about how society treats things like young people who have sex. I don’t want to make a show which is a wank in a mirror. There are hundreds of others of performers making that.
Ben Walters: In Edinburgh, The Worst of Scottee got great reviews and won a couple of awards, and since then you’ve been on tour. So it’s been a success! What’s the worst thing about the whole experience?
That I have to keep on doing it! I get quite sulky before I have to do a run. I was recently in Australia, staying in my four-star hotel, having a swim in the pool after breakfast, and I was thinking, ‘I don’t want to do this’. So then I thought, ‘Hold on a minute!’ I have to remind myself that I have been a dick – quite a big dick – and get back into that mindset. But it is an emotional show to perform every night.
The Worst of Scottee
4-15 February
at the Roundhouse
More info and roundhouse.org.uk

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